Godfrey well on his way to become A's No.4 starter

April 3, 2012, 5:37 am
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The Giants spent 112 million to keep their No. 2 starter, and judging by the reaction, it was worth every dime.

The As spent five innings to sort out their No. 4 and No. 5 starters, and though manager Bob Melvin is playing coy even now, Graham Godfreys five scoreless innings went a long way toward making his mind up for him.

We grant you that Matt Cains deal is the bigger deal, bigger than Dallas Bradens latest shoulder setbackvisit to New York for a specialists evaluation, and definitely bigger than Godfreys breakout start.

But it cant always be about the look on Larry Baers face when he helps burn someone elses money, or Cains reserve when every atom of his being craved to jump shirtless onto an interview table and shriek, IM RICH! RICH, I TELL YOU! IM THE KING OF THE FREAKING WORLD!

However, choosing not to imitate the Lexington Police Scanner in his moment of fiduciary triumph is not Cains way. He tried to pass it off as one more day on the job.

And so did Godfrey for a different reason. He was in his way just as happy with his five spotless innings (four hits, three strikeouts, no walks) as Cain was with his 112 million new best friends, after a spring which Godfrey charitably described as inconsistent, to say the least.

Im pretty satisfied with it, to tell you the truth, Godfrey said. It was definitely a confidence booster.

Godfrey was most impressed for public consumption by his strike percentage and his ability to use his breaking ball when he fell behind, and he did acknowledge a number of strong defensive plays by those behind him, particularly the strange Josh Reddick double of (a) throwing behind Aubrey Huff on a single and helping the ponderous Giant reach second, and then b) throwing him out at the plate moments later.

But on a day when Bradens condition started to look season-threatening, Godfreys outing stood out even more than Eric Sogards home run or Yoenis Cespedes ringing double, if for no better reason than the As needed Godfreys outing most of all.

What surprised me was how few pitches he threw, manager Bob Melvin said. We needed to get a look at him, but we couldnt stretch him out too long, so the way he looked really made a difference in how were going to handle the fourth and fifth spots (in the rotation).

In fact, Melvin all but said that Tyson Ross start tomorrow in Oakland against the Giants would go a long way toward determining which of the two would be the fourth starter, and which would start the year in Sacramento for a start, and then return in time for the game on the 17th against the Angels, the first time the No. 5 starter would need to appear.

Well, let me say this, the manager said. Well have a decision tomorrow.

And since he didnt have a decision Monday night, one can infer that Ross has a lot to say about who pitches when in a rotation that took another blow when Bradens shoulder went for another walk in the woods.

As for the game itself, Oakland broke early with two in the third off a surprisingly strike-zone-skittish Madison Bumgarner, but a run in the sixth off Jordan Norberto and three more off Fautino de los Santos in the seventh sent a surprisingly large crowd of 41,823 home satisfied. Melky Cabrera had three more hits, including his fourth home run of the spring, and Brandon Belt added a single and double to bump his March-and-beyond average to .391.

For the As, shortstop Cliff Pennington tweaked a groin muscle and was pulled after one at-bat, but the injury is not considered serious by anyone not named Cliff Pennington.

But for Graham Godfrey, nothing hurt. He felt fine, in fact. He made one small step toward his own 112 million, with many more still to go.

Hey, a fellow can pitch five innings and dream, cant he?